Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

FirstLight has 1st woman CEO in El Paso credit union’s 67-year history

FirstLight Federal Credit Union, El Paso’s second-largest credit union, has a new CEO.

Margie Salazar, FirstLight’s chief financial officer, will become the first woman to head the 67-year-old credit union when she takes her new job Feb. 1.

She is replacing Karl Murphy, 62, who is retiring after working at FirstLight for 38 years, including the last 19 years as chief executive officer.

FirstLight has about 109,000 members, $1.5 billion in assets, and 300 employees. It has eight branches in El Paso, including at Fort Bliss, and in two in Las Cruces. It’s the second largest credit union in El Paso behind GECU.

“Karl has been a remarkable leader during incredibly transformative times in the financial industry,” Jaime Barceleau, FirstLight board chairman, said in a statement. “We also are excited that his focus in succession planning has allowed us to appoint new leadership from within our credit union.”

Salazar, 47, has worked at FirstLight 25 years. She started as a teller and has held a variety of supervisory jobs over the years, including overseeing branch operations, marketing, human resources, and consumer, mortgage and business lending.

She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is board chairman of the YMCA of El Paso and is on the advisory council of UTEP’s El Paso Banking Academy.

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FirstLight Federal Credit Union has eight branches in El Paso and two in Las Cruces, including this one at 2200 N. Zaragoza Road in East El Paso.

Murphy, in a statement, called Salazar an accomplished leader in the financial industry with the spirit and temperament to lead FirstLight.

“Margie is an innovator in the finance space and will thoughtfully guide FirstLight into the future,” Murphy said.

Karl Murphy, retiring CEO at FirstLight Federal Credit Union in El Paso.

Salazar, in a statement, said she’s “excited, grateful and humbled” by being named CEO.

“I am extremely passionate about the credit union movement and our overarching mantra of ‘people helping people,'” she said.

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Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; [email protected]; @vickolenc on Twitter.

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